Britain: losing and gaining an empire, 1763-1914

Events

Battle of Plassey - EIC forces defeat of the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies

1757

Victory over France in Seven Years' War and Britain introduces taxes to raise money from colonies

1763

Townshend Duties on tea, lead, glass, paint, china and wine introduced

1767

Boston Massacre takes place following weeks of unrest in Boston against the Townshend Duties

1770

Cook claims New South Wales for the British as Terra Nullius

22 August 1770

First Committee of Correspondence is set up in Boston on the suggestion of Sam Adams, followed by almost all the other colonies by 1774

1772

Tea Act allows the EIC to trade directly with America rather than shipping through London

1773

British parliament passes Regulating Act

1773

Boston Tea Party: patriots throw 342 chests of tea worth about £10000 into the sea in protest against the Tea Act

16 December 1773

Coercive Acts introduced in direct response to the Boston Tea Party

1774

Representatives of all the colonies meet in Philadelphia in the Continental Congress in response to the Coercive Acts

September 1774

American War of Independence begins over 'no taxation without representation'

1775

First shots of the war are fired between Lexington and Concord

18 April 1775

Battle of Bunker Hill

17 June 1775

American War of Independence disrupts the transportation of criminals to America

1776

Process of drawing up a new constitution for the new nation begins

1776

Declaration of Independece formally and unanimously adopted by Congress

4 July 1776

Burgoyne's retreat to Saratoga takes place following the failure of an ambitious campaign from Canada

1777

New Constitution approved by Congress

1777

France declares war on Britain

1778

Free trade granted to Ireland to prevent civil unrest

1779

Spain enters the war as an ally of France

June 1779

British surrender to the Americans at Yorktown, effectively ending the war

19 October 1781

Peace of Paris is signed by Britain, the USA, France, Spain and Holland

1783

British parliament passes East India Company Act

1784

British parliament passes a supplementary Act which strengthens the power of the governor general

1786

First Fleet arrives in Botany Bay after a passage of 252 days at sea

18 January 1788

Smallpox breaks out among the Aboriginal population with catastrophic results

1789

Governor Phillip dispatches 300 convicts to Norfolk Island

1790

British parliament passes Constitutional Act establishing the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada and their system of government

1791

James Ruse is granted land at Rose Hill (Parramatta) as a reward for growing the first crop of wheat in the colony

1791

whaling begins in colony on the William and Ann and the Britannia of the Third Fleet

1791

John Macarthur introduces merino sheep to Australia

1796

A small military outpost is established in Van Diemen's Land to prevent any settlement by the French

1803

Victory and Trafalgar and Royal Navy achieves supremacy at sea

1805

Slave trade is abolished after a 19 year parliamentary campaign

1807

Rum Rebellion and Governor Bligh is removed from office by a mutiny of New South Wales Corps and free settlers

1808

Lachlan Macquarie becomes governor of New South Wales

1 January 1810

Charter Act renews the EIC charter but ends their trading monopolies on everything except tea and trade with China

1813

Blaxland, Lawsom and Wentworth and the first Europeans to cross the Blue Mountains

1813

Victory at Waterloo

1815

Parliament passes Corn Laws to keep grain prices high

1815

Founding of Singapore by EIC shows effectiveness of free trade entrepots

1819

New South Wales Act establishes a legislative council in the colony

1823

The parliamentary select committee, the Canada Committee, reports recommending no change in the system of government in the Canadas

1828

Marital law is declared against the Aboriginal people in Tasmania by governor Arthur

November 1828

First British settlers arrive in Western Australia

1829

Governor Bentinck makes the practice of sati illegal and subject to prosecution in all British territory in India

1829

Howick Act passes in Britain

1831

Government of India Act ends the Company's commercial activities completely and reorganises the administrative system of the territories

1833

Abolition of slavery in the West Indies, compensation paid to slave owners

1833

Papineau's 92 Resolutiona are presented to the legislative assembly in Lowe Canada

1834

Sir Frances Bond Head arrives in Upper Canada as lieutenant governor

1835

Legislative council in India passes the English Education Act

1835

William Sleeman leads and publicises a campaign for the suppression of thagi

1835 - 1839

Earl of Gosford leads a parliamentary commission to enquire into the grievances of Lower Canada

1835

Gosford Commission publishes their sixth and final report

November 1836

British parliament passes the 10 Russell Resolutions

March 1837

British cavalry exchange shots with the patriote militia in the revolt in Lower Canada

10 November 1837

The revolt in Upper Canada begins

5 December 1837

Both rebellions are effectively over and rebels are either in prison or have fled over the border to the USA

1838

Lord Durham arrives in the Canadas with executive powers and to compile a report on the future of the provinces for the British parliament

28 May 1838

Lord Durham resigns and returns to Britain

9 October 1838

Lord Durham's Report on the Affairs of British North America is published

1839

British parliament passes the British North America Act for the provinces, commonly known as the Act of Union

1840

Victory in First Opium War, Britain forces China to cede Hong Kong and open Shanghai and other ports to Western trade,

1842

Famine in Ireland

1846

Repeal of Corn Laws to lower grain prices splits Conservative Party

1846

The British grant responsible self-government to Nova Scotia

1848

Free trade supporters dominate parliament

1849

Navigation Acts abolished

1849

Mutiny of sepoys at Meerut sparks widespread mutineering within the Bengali army

9 May 1857

British lay siege to the rebels in Delhi, finally retaking the city

1 July 1857 - 21 September 1857

Company forces reach Cawnpore and discover the entire garrison including 200 women and children has been massacred

16 July 1857

The British finally evacuate Lucknow

27 November 1857

Government of India Act passes, ending the Company rule in India and passing control of the Company's territories to the Crown

2 August 1858

Suez Canal is opened

1869

Disraeli acquires a 45% share in the Suez Canal

1874

Purchase of Suez Canal shares gives Britain controlling interest in new trade route

1875

Dual Control by the British and French established in Egypt

1878

Khedive Ismail receives a telegram from the sultan addressing his as ex-khedive following pressure on the sultan by the British and French to remove him

26 June 1879

Radical Islamic leader, the mahdi, emerges in Sudan intent on dirivng out the Egyptian/Ottoman overlords

1881

Britain occupies Egypt to protect interest in Suez Canal

1882

British warships begin the bombardment of Alexandria following French withdrawal from joint action

11 June 1882

Sir Evelyn Baring arrives in Egypt as consul general

1883

An Egyptian army led by an Englishmen, Sit William Hicks, is wiped out by mahdist forces

November 1883

General Charles Gordon is dispatched to evacuate Egyptian garrisons and foreign nationals from the Sudan

1884

General Gordon is beseiged in Khartoum by mahdist forces and dies with the entire garrison

26 January 1885

Lord Salisbury, a Conservative, becomes prime minister

1886

Agreement for British withdrawal reached but Russian and French threats mean there is no withdrawal

22 May 1887

British declare the whole of the Nile Valley under their sphere of influence

1890

Britain partitions East Africa with Germany, declares Zanzibar a protectorate

1890

Abbas II becomes khedive of Egypt

8 January 1892

Salisbury orders an expedition to be led by Kitchener to secure the source of the Nile and pacify the mahdists

1896

Britain leases Weihaiwei to counter Russian acquisition of Port Arthur

1898

Battle of Omdurman

2 September 1898

British and French forces meet at Fashoda in an incident that could have led to war between the British and the French

18 September 1898